I admit it. It's stereotypical. I'm a woman and I love to shop for clothes!
In my last post I wrote about shopping at Chatuchuk Market in Bangkok. For clothes, I visit another market which sells only wholesale clothing. It's housed in a 6 story building and you'll find everything from t-shirts with knock-off logos to Thai silk suits.
It takes countless days to navigate all of the alleys and see what is available. You can't start out too late, most stalls are open approx. 3am-3pm. Vendors who sell in other markets and centres come here to buy clothing in the early morning and then set out to their stalls for the day.
Whoever designed the layout of this building was not familiar with the term 'logic'. The shops and alleys use a system of letters and numbers as 'addresses' but the order is mystifying. And, to add to the confusion, at some point an addition was made to the building. So, sometimes numbers repeat themselves in the addition and on some floors you can walk from the 'old' building to the 'new' but not on other floors. Thank-goodness for Peter! With my sense of direction I could possibly be lost in the 'maze' for days without finding the exit. I concentrate on being lured by the beautiful colours, fabrics & designs and he keeps track of where we have been and where we're going. Many times after several hours of walking around the complex I'll say "I want to go back to the shop 'back there'. You know, the one with the really cute flowered dresses." And somehow from this 'description' he navigates us back to shop I am looking for.
Seemingly endless rows of clothing shops.
As with all shopping for re-sale it's more than just "I like it" its about price, quality, available colours & fabrics, available stock, how long it takes to make-to-order....etc. Sometimes I find something I really like and it's about picking colours, fabrics and sizes. Sometimes I'll have the design altered to better suit our customers. This can involve considerable time checking and re-checking to make sure the specifications are met. I've definitely learned from experience in this market. I've fallen in love with beautiful fabrics and missed details. I brought home gorgeous tops to find that the arm holes were too small for any normal person. Live and learn!
Because this center is set up for wholesale purchases (both to locals and exporters) bargaining is not as intense as at other markets but you can still always negotiate and haggle a bit.
This year I found some really fabulous natural 'rough' cotton clothing. A new line I'm really excited about.
This is nice!
Somewhere in here is what I'm looking for.
The easiest way to get here is using the water taxi system known as the 'klong'. These boats run along the canal system through the city and have earned Bangkok the nickname of "Venice of Asia". I have never been to Venice but the pictures seem more romantic than these boats with their loud diesel engines. But, none the less, it is a very efficient transportation - no traffic jams!
Waiting at the pier after a full day of shopping.
Rough yarn hung out to dry after dying - as seen from the waterway, just in front of the market.
Once I've chosen all of the pieces I want to buy they have to be transported to our exporter's warehouse. All textiles imported to Canada must be properly labeled. So, at the exporter Green Gecko labels will be sewn into every piece.
Then every piece must be carefully counted in categories: Women's Shirts, Cotton; Women's Dresses, Rayon; Men's Shirts, Cotton.....etc for importing documents.
Well, all except the few I've moved from the 'shipment' category to the 'my suitcase' category. A girl's gotta have a few perks! :)